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September 08, 2015

Table of Contents

Breaking the Barrier Releases New French iBooks Textbooks
Front Row Education Adds Inquiry Based Lessons To Expanding Line-Up of Classroom Resources
Free Online Math Resource Matific Bringing Gaming Fun to Math Teaching With More Than 1,000 Learning Activities
Lexia Learning Introduces Lexia RAPID Assessment
PBS LearningMedia and the Smithsonian Science Education Center Partner to Release New Educational Resources

Breaking the Barrier Releases New French iBooks Textbooks

Breaking the Barrier, Inc. has announced the 2015 Breaking the French Barrier series of iBooks textbooks is now available for download on Apple’s iBooks Store. The new release includes a video introduction to each chapter by Series Editor John Conner. Audio recordings of native speakers, produced in one of Europe’s top recording studios, accompany each sample sentence.

The 2015 series also introduces a new feature, Voyons Voir, virtual blackboard lessons that highlight key grammatical points. Motion graphics along with authentic voices richly illustrate all concepts.

Cultural information has been meticulously updated, including sites of interest and biographies. An updated vocabulary feature combines photos, audio, and text into a digital flashcard experience that makes words come to life. Each multitouch iBooks textbook has numerous practice exercises with hundreds of interactive activities throughout.

Source: Breaking the Barrier, Inc.,

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Front Row Education Adds Inquiry Based Lessons To Expanding Line-Up of Classroom Resources

Front Row Education, Inc. has added Inquiry Based Lessons to its growing number of online math tools. These new lessons provide students an entirely new way to learn math through solving real-world problems.

The Front Row Inquiry Based Lessons are a one-of-a-kind tool that is designed to engage students in mathematical concepts that go beyond simply presenting an equation that needs to be solved, the announcement states. The lessons connect math to real world situations that need solutions. Students determine the best way to approach these problems in small groups, providing them the opportunity to explore these problems fully. Each group then presents their thinking behind the solution, which is open to critique from the rest of the class to expand upon and improve each others reasoning.

The Front Row team developed these Inquiry Based Lessons by presenting an initial concept across four schools, and applying both direct feedback and observations into subsequent versions of the technology. They continued this testing period over the course of three months, to more than 150 students and 10 teachers. This broad feedback was incorporated into the more than 70 lessons that are available today.

These lessons include learning addition and subtraction by researching medal totals from past Olympics, fractions by studying the African jungle with an animal researcher, and area and perimeter through a story about Gold Rush miners settling landplots.

For more information on Front Row Inquiry Based Lessons, visit

Source: Front Row,

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Free Online Math Resource Matific Bringing Gaming Fun to Math Teaching With More Than 1,000 Learning Activities

Matific, a provider of online math activities for K-6 students, has added new enhancements to its offering, including free lesson plans tied to specific math topics and advanced reporting via the teacher dashboard. Matific’s team of math professors and early childhood educators develop its content to offer educators engaging and interactive activities to reinforce mathematical concepts taught in K-6 classrooms.

Matific offers more than 700 game-based episodes, which are short interactive activities, and digital worksheets that students can access on any device with internet access, including Mac, PC, iPad and Android. Educators can choose episodes by grade, standard, or textbook alignment and episodes can be delivered to students in the way the teacher likes to teach best, such as whole classroom presentation, broadcasting to the entire class on their devices, or assigned to individuals or groups of students.

The teacher dashboard allows teachers to print out login cards for students and it provides student-level and class-level performance reports, such as student achievement snapshot, student scores by topic, student cumulative scores, and more. These reports allow teachers to differentiate instruction based on students’ needs.

Educators can sign up at Once they are logged in, they can set up their class profiles, then either invite individual students to Matific or upload entire class lists. Access to Matific is free during normal school hours. Schools and districts can also purchase premium accounts to provide students with access to Matific after school hours. The company also sells Matific to parents who want to strengthen their child’s math performance.

For more information, to view sample episodes or to sign up for a Matific account, visit

Source: Matific,

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Lexia Learning Introduces Lexia RAPID Assessment

Lexia Learning has launched RAPID (Reading Assessment for Prescriptive Instructional Data) Assessment, a computer-adaptive screener and diagnostic tool for students in grades 3–12.

Designed for administration in the fall, winter, and spring, RAPID uses a computer-adaptive process to identify and monitor reading and language skills so that teachers can quickly acquire actionable data for instruction and measure the long-term growth of each student’s skills. In addition to measuring the skills that are highly predictive of reading success –– word recognition, vocabulary knowledge, syntactic knowledge, and reading comprehension—RAPID helps educators make decisions within a Response to Intervention or Multi-Tier System of Support model by helping to determine which students are at-risk for difficulty and then providing guidance on the level of instructional intensity needed for student success. RAPID also provides a diagnostic profile for each student, pinpointing specific academic areas that should be targeted. Additionally, the diagnostic profile links directly to Lexia-provided instructional strategies for the teacher and identifies students with similar profiles for small-group instruction.

This new assessment is the result of Lexia’s ongoing partnership with researchers from the Florida Center for Reading Research (FCRR), a multidisciplinary research center at Florida State University. FCRR’s continuing research and innovation in the area of language and literacy assessment was instrumental in determining the most predictive skills, testing methodologies, and strategies to convey meaningful data in a manner that best informs instruction.

Rather than administer several lengthy assessments, teachers and administrators using RAPID obtain the information they need regarding student progress via a Reading Success Probability (RSP) score, a set of Ability Scores, and a set of Percentile Scores based on the student’s grade level. All three scores are provided at the student level and then aggregated to the class, grade, school, and district levels.

Each student receives an individual RSP score indicating the overall level of instructional intensity needed to reach grade level proficiency by the end of the school year. The RSP score then becomes a roadmap for educators with a prediction of students’ future reading success on a standardized outcome measure. The Ability Score represents an estimate of each student’s abilities and development in a particular skill area within and across grade levels (for example, their current level of vocabulary knowledge). This score, when compared to a student’s prior Ability Scores, indicates relative growth in the skill. The Percentile Score shows a student’s relative performance compared to grade-level norms and guides instructional strategies based on the student’s personal profile of strengths and weaknesses.

These three types of information provide educators with an enormous amount of insight when determining what steps need to be taken to drive student gains, the announcement states. Teachers and administrators can see how many students have a high probability of success (an RSP of 70 percent or greater) and the distribution of RSP scores across a grade, school, or district. Educators can also longitudinally track students’ personal skill development growth over a school year and across multiple years. Additionally, the data enables educators to track the impact of instructional interventions and programs across a school or district and administrators can use the school- and district-wide profiles to assess the need for curriculum review.

For more information about RAPID, visit

Source: Lexia Learning,

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PBS LearningMedia and the Smithsonian Science Education Center Partner to Release New Educational Resources

PBS LearningMedia and the Smithsonian Science Education Center (SSEC) have announced a partnership to bring new digital resources to teachers and students. The professional development series Good Thinking! will now be available on PBS LearningMedia, the media-on-demand service for educators that serves over 1.6 million users across the country. Additional content created specifically for students is also available through the new Smithsonian collection, which can be found at

Good Thinking! is an original animated series by the Smithsonian Science Education Center and FableVision Studios that brings viewers into the classroom of science educator Isabella Reyes as she explores “the science of teaching science.” Drawing from peer-reviewed research in science, cognition, and pedagogy, Good Thinking! distills valuable findings from hard-to-access journal articles to promote effective classroom practices. The series is available now on the SSEC’s YouTube channel. The newest episode, “Attack the Knack,” features research on student motivation and mindsets and is currently available exclusively through PBS LearningMedia.

In addition to Good Thinking! (for teachers of grades K-12), the Smithsonian Science Education Center collection within PBS LearningMedia also features games and digital series for students, including:

· Shutterbugs: Wiggle and Stomp – a game that teaches students movement and motion concepts while visiting rare animals at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park (for kindergarten)

· Showbiz Safari – a game that teaches students about the diversity of plants and animals in different habitats by casting plants and animals in movies (for grades 1-2)

· Bumper Ducks – a game that teaches students what happens when two objects collide and how mass impacts the acceleration of an object by using animated rubber ducks (for grades 6-8)

Additional content will also be added throughout the year, including:

· Ada Asks – an animated and live-action video series that encourages students to join the curious Ada as she answers students’ biggest questions about science through some seriously amazing investigations!(for grades K-2)

· Morphy – a game that teaches students that animals have external structures that are important for survival. Students must guide an alien creature through an Earth-like planet while adapting different animal structures (for grades 3-5)

· Disaster Detector – a game that teaches students how to analyze and interpret data on natural hazards to forecast disasters by becoming a “Disaster Detector” for a city (for grades 6-8)

For more information on Good Thinking!, visit

Source: PBS LearningMedia,

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